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Cooking with children can go one of two ways: it can be Pinterest perfect or a mighty mess. I know that different parents have their own ways of letting their children engage whilst they cook but, as a mother, here are my top tips for stress free cooking with your little ones.
A brief bit of background
I have two children, one is 21 months and the other is 8. Both of them love creating. My eldest is a whiz in the kitchen, following in her (chef) fathers footsteps in culinary expertise. In our household we both enjoy creating dishes, and feel an obligation to prepare the girls for life outside the nest by teaching them the basics of cooking.
They say food is music for the soul, and I couldn’t agree more!
Getting Children Excited About Cooking: 5 Top Tips for a Stress Free Kitchen
Tip 1 – Prepare
Its really easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, so having a plan is paramount. Together with your child, plan a menu and shopping list together, keeping a record of the events will ensure the chefs in the room stay calm :). You could even make it easier on yourself and prepare some of the dish the night before!
Tip 2 – Take your time
In cooking, timing is everything. Although, this doesn’t mean you have to rush through it all. Take your time to enjoy creating with your little ones, don’t forget to take pictures and let them learn new skills at a pace that suits you both. Expect a mess, but remember its about connection, making memories and FUN!
Tip 3 – Praise
Kids love nothing more than praise, so let them know they did a job well done. You are both more likely to engage in more cooking activities and in todays world when we all lead such busy lifestyles, its rewarding to just enjoy this time with our children. Start a reward/progress sheet so that the praise is visual as well as verbal.
Tip 4 – Teach them about food hygiene, and get them ready!
Put them in aprons, or clothes you don’t mind getting messy, and don’t forget to tie that long hair back! Make sure they know they need to wash their hands, especially when the recipe calls for touching raw and cooked meats.
Tip 5 – Use multiple senses
Use the senses to help your child get a better knowledge of food. Think how it feels, how it looks and if it makes any sounds while being cut up. Is it crunchy? Does it have a strong smell? Go at a pace that is comfortable for you both, and you’d be surprised to see what they remember when you make it fun. You can even taste test as you go, ( within reason! )
How do you involve your kids whilst cooking?
What dishes do you enjoy making with your children? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.